Following the debate about Liverpool’s reaction to the Luis Suarez case, it may be worth observing that when you negotiate and lose, it’s often better to be gracious about it rather than sulky. There is usually another deal to be done at some later point on the same issue or some other matter, so it’s better to be patient and bide your time rather than be bitter and burn bridges.

It was an independent regulatory commission that found Suarez guilty having investigated Patrice Evra’s complaints of racist comments made against him. The Commission’s findings were pretty clear – suggesting that Suarez called Evra “negro” on no fewer than 7 occasions, and dismissing Suarez’s evidence as unreliable and inconsistent. However, there has been a strident reaction from Liverpool, claiming that “the FA and the Panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated …” And that the FA “chose to completely dismiss the testimony that countered their suppositions”.

This kind of peevish response may be the result of a genuine sense of grievance, but it comes across as rather graceless, and inappropriate when dealing with an issue as sensitive as racism in football. It also makes the club seem strangely reluctant to condemn racism. It’s very hard to believe that anyone in the Liverpool hierarchy is actually racist but the grudging acceptance of the findings create the impression that the club will allow racism rather than criticise their own player. This in turn puts the spotlight on the attitude of the club and its supporters to this issue. The furore around racist remarks alleged to have been made by a Liverpool supporter to Oldham defender Tom Adeyemi in Friday’s match has been exacerbated by the fact that Liverpool have struck such a defiant note over the Suarez affair.

From a negotiating point of view the debate with the FA was lost when it pronounced its verdict. Protesting (without appealing) just creates a poor climate for negotiations on anything else. Better to retire from that negotiation and live to fight another day. There will be other future opportunities for Liverpool to negotiate with the FA over this and many other matters…